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Conference Paper November 2011


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2 authors:

Marc Bidaut Thierry Cormenier

Schneider Electric Schneider Electric


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WITH IEC 62271-202

Marc BIDAUT, Schneider Electric, France,

Thierry CORMENIER, Schneider Electric, France, thierry.cormenier@schneider-

Generally the electricity distribution companies refer to the

ABSTRACT whole series of type tests of this IEC 62271-202 standard.

The publication of a new edition of a product standard is For the specific products the temperature-rise test and the
often the opportunity for the customers to revise their tests to assess the effects of internal arc fault remain most
specifications and for the manufacturers of launching new relevant and required. The performances of degree of
products. The type tests list and routine tests required for a protection, mechanical withstand, currents flow in the
HV/LV prefabricated substation will be used as discussion earthing circuits are generally validated by generic tests
thread with a review of the evolutions of the user's needs carried out during the validation of a technology (Doors /
and solutions which are proposed to them. Ventilations / Material / Section and fixing of the earthing

The variety of transformers with powers from 250 to 3150

KEYWORDS kVA, with liquid dielectric or of dry type, their respective
coils heating up 35 to 65K or 60 to 150K, the HV and LV
IEC 62271-202, HV/LV prefabricated substation, HV/LV, switchboards versions, the various operation modes with or
type test, routine test. without operation area, the most required enclosure
temperature classes (5, 10 or 20K) as well as the degrees
of protection of the various compartments IP23 to IP56,
would give while being minimalist, by regrouping of
INTRODUCTION performance, more than 380 configurations, occulting the
In June 2006 the International Electrotechnical Commission levels of rated currents and voltages.
(IEC) published the first version of new standard IEC 62271- An organized process for the conformity evaluation of a
202, related to the prefabricated substations HV/LVBT, range is necessary. The rules for the choice of the
which cancelled and replaced earlier IEC 61330 standard representative samples are based on healthy technical and
published ten years ago. physical principles and are justified by calculations. Figure 1
show as example the minimal quantities which could be
Very quickly the reference to this new standard appeared in retained for a range of HV/LV substation, and giving place
the customer specifications and the invitations to tender. As to as many tests as of alternatives.
regards manufacturers of new products were born to
answer the requirements of qualification with type tests and Transformer power 3
also an increasing demand of more complex substations Transformer type (oil or dry) 2
such as for example those intended for the photovoltaic
Transformer temperature rise 2
solar farms.
HV/LV prefabricated substations are segmented in two big HV switchboard 2
families: LV switchboard 2
- substations intended for the electricity distribution Enclosure class 2
companies, generally qualified like products with Operation mode 2
definite configuration and limited options
Degrees of protection 2
dedicated to answer series markets;
- substations intended for various applications for
Figure 1: Minimalist regrouping of configurations for
industry and infrastructures, defined by project,
a range of HV/LV substations
and thus often specific. For those whose lay-outs
are recurring it can be applied a conformity to IEC
62271-202 standard. The others can be regarded The type tests list of IEC 62271-202 standard is thus the
as HV installations complying with IEC 61936 discussion thread which we will follow in the continuation of
standard, and carried out in prefabricated the document.
enclosures which follow the recommendations of
IEC 62271-202 standard.
The electricity distribution companies show each day
TESTS TO VERIFY THE INSULATION LEVEL through their specifications, their control, their knowledge
OF THE PREFABRICATED SUBSTATION and field-expertise of typologies of load which are more and
more changing with the increasing number of micro-
Since the HV switchgear, HV/LV transformer and LV producers on their networks.
switchgear contained in a prefabricated substation have In certain areas where the seasonal average of the ambient
been type-tested according to their relevant standards, tests temperature can reach 35C, we noted that the limits of
to verify the insulation level applies only to the HV and LV temperature rise prescribed could be reduced until 35-40K
interconnections. for oil and coils, corresponding to the prescriptions of the
IEC 62271-202 (Appendix D) and the IEC 60076-7 (see
The majority of the manufacturers of prefabricated figure 2).
substations make a systematic use of HV interconnections
made with HV cables equipped with by type-tested earth-
shielded connectors which thus do not require a type test. In
the other cases it is necessary to carry them out.

With regard to the LV interconnection, to answer the

customers specifications and/or for a greater safety and
easier installation, the use of insulated cables is very
widespread and makes it possible to be freed from the type
In the other cases such as the use of bars partially or not
insulated, the design of LV interconnection must be
subjected to lightning impulse-voltage tests and the shortest
creepage distances must be measured and be in conformity
with the requirements of Table 4 of IEC 60664-1.
Figure 2: IEC 62271-202 and IEC 60076-7
On the other hand, for the routine tests, a power-frequency f (class, ambient , load factor, O/W transformer
voltage test of the HV interconnection is necessary. Thus temperature rise)
targeting the optimal quality, these unitary tests are carried
out on the manufacturing sites of these interconnections.
The experience from laboratories reveals that some
Finally the dielectric tests of the auxiliary circuits which are customers specifications can be contradictory between the
not requiring expensive equipment are very easily carried prescribed assigned thermal class of enclosure and
out during the final control of the manufacturing of the temperature rise limits required by the IEC 61439-1 for low
substations aiming at checking the good performance of voltage equipment already qualified outside an enclosure.
protection relays and other devices. Let us take the case of a LV switchboard prescribed by an
electricity distribution company and qualified as a free-
standing product. For its use in a prefabricated substation it
TESTS TO PROVE THE TEMPERATURE RISE can require a class of enclosure 15K so that the limits of
temperature rise values of the IEC 61439 are not reached
OF THE MAIN COMPONENTS CONTAINED IN whereas the specification of the prefabricated substation
A PREFABRICATED SUBSTATION prescribed a class of enclosure 20K.
The introduction of the enclosure temperature class 5K was
beneficial for the geographical areas having high ambient TESTS TO PROVE THE CAPABILITY OF THE
temperature thus making it possible to reduce the versions MAIN AND EARTHING CIRCUITS TO BE
of transformers temperature rise limits. SUBJECTED TO THE RATED PEAK AND THE
It is important to remind that the valorisation of this class is
related to the choices of the of the transformer temperature Checking by type tests of the electrodynamics withstand of
rise limits and thus to the total losses. The same various types of LV interconnections made of insulated
prefabricated substation can classifies at the same time cables or bars makes it possible to validate design
class 10K for a transformer 1000 kVA 60-65K and class 5K principles transposable from a type of substation to another.
for a transformer 1000 kVA 40-45K.

It is also necessary to mention that if the envelope of a

prefabricated substation can have different degrees of
protection (for example with or without gaskets for the
doors) it is preferable to carry out a test of evaluation of this
thermal class with the maximum of losses and the most
demanding degree of protection.
It is essential to have a degree of protection adapted to the
environmental conditions of the substation. For protection
against the water penetration in the case of substations for
wind farms in the very hot climates according to the IEC
62271-1, the IPx3 degree appears insufficient and the IPx4
degree could appear more adapted but it is constraining to
perform the natural ventilation expected with increasingly
large powers of transformers installed. There is no, for now,
a definition and a type test for a degree of protection against
Figure 3: Checking of the electrodynamics withstand horizontal water projections, which could be more adapted
of a LV interconnection to this type of use.

The test of the earthing system remains important to verify In addition many of the electricity distribution companies
the mechanical withstand under electrodynamics stresses. would wish to specify IP23D degree privileging natural
Sometimes the over sizing in a customer specification of its cooling but they also wish that the penetration of the wire of
cross section on HV side appears shifted compared to the 1mm should not be limited in length to 100 mm in order to
value of the fault current conditioned by the type of earthing ensure a better safety when it is made use of connections of
of the neutral. transformer not ensuring protection of the people against
In addition some devices for fault current flow to the ground direct contacts to the active parts.
through solid walls must be tested under the real conditions
of use so that it is possible to guarantee the operational Finally the verification of the degree of protection IP5X is
safety, instead of undergoing only type tests the in open air, confronted with a lack of means of tests adapted and in fact
which facilitates heat exchange. The figure 4 shows a dust room of sufficient capacity to receive a complete
successively the product as it must be installed according to HV/LV substation. The alternative used for a
the user guide, the type test of the product alone, the type compartmentalized metallic substation was to test only one
test of the product installed which result is non-conformity. separated compartment.

Figure 4: Tests of earth fault current flowing device


Checking of the possibility to perform all the necessary
commissioning, operational and maintenance activities of
the prefabricated substation is quite seldom the subject of a
separate type test report. In fact for some of the electricity
distribution companies, the process of validation includes,
beyond the inspection of prototypes before the tests, one
probationary period on the network for a limited series of
substations samples.
For the prefabricated substations designed for specific Figure 5: Verification of the degree of protection IP5X
projects, these checks are carried out during the routine of a separated compartment
tests and the customer acceptance of the complete
equipment in factory.
ENCLOSURE OF THE PREFABRICATED As HV and LV switchboards having been checked by type
SUBSTATION AGAINST MECHANICAL tests for their level of emission and immunity it is not
STRESS necessary according to IEC 62271-202 standard to carry
out tests on the complete substations.
If calculations notes are chosen for this checking, they will
Indeed this test is difficult to carry out of due to the number
have to take into account the performances required by the
of possible configurations in HV/LV substation as said in the
IEC standard [1] but also by the national or local
introduction, and in addition with the multiplication of
regulations. Complementary type tests can be realized to
communication technologies for measurements and remote
evaluate the behaviour during the phases of transport and if
necessary lead to require adapted wedging. Indeed
substations without good wedging can be subjected to
When measurements are carried out on complete
accelerations higher than 7g. Beyond the validation test, the
prefabricated substations they relate to the intensity of the
substations can be equipped with detectors of shocks, for
magnetic field generated in the vicinity of the enclosure of
deliveries towards remote sites (wind, photovoltaic)
the substation. A technical report IEC TR 62271-208
borrowing ways not very suitable for motor vehicles, and in
dealing with solutions to measure or calculate the
the case of use of trucks with blade shock absorbers
electromagnetic fields in the vicinity of HV and HV/LV
instead of hydro pneumatic shock absorbers (+30% of
equipment was published at the end of 2009.
In practice, the normative configuration of the temperature
FOR PREFABRICATED SUBSTATIONS CLASS rise test of HV/LV substations, requiring a short-circuit on
IAC-A, IAC-B OR IAC-AB, TESTS TO ASSESS transformer LV side and a second upstream of LV
THE EFFECTS OF ARCING DUE TO AN equipment does not reflect the real conditions of
INTERNAL FAULT electromagnetic fields emission , however it is not rare to
see proposals for combined tests. Figure 7 shows
Internal arc withstand initiated by a three-phase fault in the cartography of measurement where the central part
main compartment of the HV switchgear intended to check corresponds to measurements on the roof, the single non
the conformity to class IAC B helped to improve the accessible side, and around measurements on the various
mechanical resistance of the enclosures against faces of the substation enclosure.
overpressures and the control of hot gases in the case of a
possible internal fault.
Usually it is preferable to carry out this test on enclosures
having the minimal degree of protection IP23D when the
substation comprises a transformer, or having a maximum
degree of protection when the substation does not comprise
a transformer. Figure 6 shows an example of internal arc
test of a 36kV equipment associated with its compartment.

Figure 7: Examples of electromagnetic field

measurement (in T) on a HV/LV substation.
Figure 6: IAC-AFL-16kA 1s + IAC-AB-16kA-1s
This test, optional, has for principal interest to provide the
data of what is obvious with knowing that in front of the
ventilation openings there is little attenuation of the noise
transmitted by air. The enclosure of a prefabricated
substation generally reduces the sound power of the
transformer only of a few dB(A). The results of the noise
level measurement of a HV/LV substation must be
compared with the values of the local regulations and if Figure 9: Tests and additional provisions to face the
necessary provisions of minimum distance from public possible floods.
places to the substation or use of transformer with reduced
noise must be considered.
TESTS NOT BEING MENTIONED IN THE IEC Many simulations can be carried out to evaluate many
62271-202 STANDARD specific configurations but it is essential to check the validity
by comparing with type test results. These simulations
These tests are specific because not listed in the standard become essential as soon as it is understood that a single
of reference [1], they depend on the market segments and configuration cannot correspond to the most constraining
the national regulations. They are relative to concerns such configuration for the whole of the type tests series.
as the performance of fire resistance, the impact of a flood, Example: the most constraining configuration for a
the effect of the solar radiation etc. temperature-rise test will not be that most constraining for
Figure 8 shows temperature measurements during a test of an internal arc test, the same for the evaluation of the noise
resistance to fire REI 90/RE 180 of a concrete wall of 10cm level.
alone which could reach performance REI 120 (INTO
13501-2) with an additional plaster screen. In the absence CONCLUSION
of type test, the thickness of this wall should be increased to
160 mm for a load-bearing wall according to IN 1992-1-2 Since 2006 IEC 62271-202 standard became a reference
Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures Part 1-2: as product standard for HV/LV prefabricated substations.
General rules Structural fire design. The type tests are applied in their entirety, even partially
according to the market segments, to these requirements
are added those of the national regulations which can
require complementary tests. Thus the topics developed in
this article will help to support later evolutions of IEC 62271-
202 standard.


[1] IEC; 2006; IEC 62271-202 HV/LV Prefabricated

Substations, IEC, Geneva, Switzerland.


Figure 8: Temperature measurements during a test of Dynamics Laboratory, Applied Mechanics Department,
fire resistance of a concrete wall. Indian Institute of Technology Madras Chennai; India

Figure 9 shows a test comparable to IPx7 on an [3] T.Cormenier, L.Vieu-Viennet, P.Brun; 2011 CIRED
underground substation where a metallic device was added N477; NEW UNDERGROUND HV/LV
in periphery in order to fill with water all the volume from the PREFABRICATED SUBSTATIONS FOR BETTER
half height of the walls until 30cm above the top of the INTEGRATION IN THE ENVIRONMENT, Frankfurt,
openings (hatches). The purpose was to check the Germany
tightness of these openings.

Solutions are implemented by manufacturers to face the

possible floods, until 30cm for the 1000kVA or 2*630kVA
underground substation intended for the urban areas
mentioned above, and until 45cm for a 160kVA substation
dedicated to the rural areas.

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